COVID-19 Campus Guidelines

Shaylena Hess, Staff Reporter

Fairmont State has created a COVID-19 Task Force comprised of individuals from the emergency management team, student affairs, student health, student conduct, and IT. The task force works closely with the local health departments to continually monitor active COVID-19 cases on campus based on testing information and self-reports from students and staff.  

Last semester we were surprised by unexpected circumstances of a sudden change of atmosphere brought on during our spring break in March because of COVID-19 which caused a shutdown of campus resulting in all classes moving completely online. At least one active case involving an on-campus student was reported.  

Due to the virus you’ll notice some changes this semester; we start up a little differently. Our campus will be looking and feeling different with all the changes, but these are necessary to keep everyone safe in these uncertain times. Some differences on campus include directional signs telling you where you can and can’t go or stand, Plexiglas dividing students from faculty and staff in and outside the classroom, and sanitizing stations located sporadically in the buildings. It is advised that students keep an eye on their emails and the school website for updates to any changes. The Counseling Center has changed to tele-health services, but if there is an emergency or someone is uncomfortable with meeting through video then they can schedule a meeting face-to-face with social distancing and wearing their mask. Campus events will either be held online or in person, which requires register. Fairmont State discourages students and employees from personally traveling to locations other than their home and campus and is closed to visitors. 

Classes in general are all looking a little different, aside from simply everyone wearing masks. All classes are required to become a type of hybrid course, with the option to have the class in person or online. It helps that the school has included that every class has a webcam to stream classes virtually in real time. Due to the fact that all class rooms have to function at 50% capacity, some classes may move locations to accommodate the number of students, some may move fully online, and some may have their class split in half where when one half is in class the other is online and vice-versa. You’ll find when you are in class that there will be tape on the floor in some rooms marking where the desks are to be situated because students need to keep a distance of 6 feet between them. Every student now has assigned seats to help with contact tracing if someone does become positive with the virus. If you aren’t feeling well then you are encouraged to attend class virtually and fill outYou can find this form at https://www.fairmontstate.edu/ . Due to classes constantly being live-streamed the bandwidth on campus has been increased and the Wi-Fi has been enhanced.  

When you visit the dining hall to eat, you’ll notice it looks different too. All of the open bars have been removed, but not to worry because you can still get a salad and have a sandwich made; you just won’t be making it yourself anymore. Plexiglas has been installed to add an extra layer of protection on top of everyone wearing their masks. “Stand here” signs have also been added to help and keep a safe space between you and others getting their food. When paying now, instead of handing your card over for the worker to swipe, you now swipe your own card to reduce the viral transmission from fomites. 

If you are someone who lives in the dorms and aren’t already aware, a limited number of people are allowed in the elevators and the common areas are now closed. Kitchens may no longer be available for use as they once were. RA’s and Residence Directors will still be available to help as before. The dorms will not have restrictions as to when and if students can visit home and leave campus but ask that students stay safe when doing so.  

If you are feeling unwell, it’s advised that you first contact Student Health Services first at (304) 367-4155 and then contact the Marion County Health Department at (304) 366-3360. Once you’ve done that you’re advised to self-isolate immediately, make sure that you’re wearing your mask, and reporting your symptoms with the school at www.fairmontstate.edu/reportillness. If someone in your class or of whom you have come into close contact with becomes positive you will need to quarantine yourself and take your classes online during that time. As given by the Fairmont State website (https://www.fairmontstate.edu/coronavirusclose contact includes:  

“Having been within 6 feet of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for a period of at least 15 minutes in any environment, regardless of the use of face coverings or masks; or living in the same household as a person with COVID-19; caring for a sick person with COVID-19; or being in direct contact with secretions from a person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.)